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May 6, 2022 3:26 pm  #1

Ethics Commissioner To Determine If CRTC Chair In Conflict Of Interest

It was the beer break seen around Canada. Not long after CRTC Chair Ian Scott completely reversed a decision that lowered Internet access bills for some consumers, he was spotted having a friendly brew with Bell CEO Mirko Bibic at a local Ottawa bar. 

The fact that the decision went against a federal government promise and that Scott was a former lobbyist for Telus caused many private operators to call foul and issue a complaint about Scott not being fair in his decision. For his part, the CRTC Chair claimed the previous ruling was wrong and he was just correcting it. 

But it stuck on the craw of provider Teksavvy, which demanded Scott be fired and refused to let it die. And now the odd couple's get-together has piqued the interest of Canada's Ethics Commissioner, who will look into the undeniably bad timing of the meeting, to see if Scott should have recused himself from the decision.

According to a Teksavvy press release:

"Mr. Scott was photographed in a private meeting with Mirko Bibic, the chief executive of Bell, at an Ottawa bar on December 19, 2019. This meeting occurred just one week after the CRTC opened an active file to hear Bell’s application to reverse its 2019 decision to lower wholesale internet rates. Subsequently, the CRTC arbitrarily reversed its own decision, resulting in higher internet prices for millions of Canadians throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This reversal also effectively transferred hundreds of millions of dollars from smaller competitors to former monopolies such as Bell, while crushing their ability to compete moving forward."

Scott denies anything untoward took place. 

My guess? Nothing will come of it and like too many scandals in Ottawa, it will be buried or simply die a slow death.  But even if he is found culpable, I fear the result will be a small fine that Scott will never even notice. And life in Ottawa - and the CRTC - will go on as usual. 

I just hope Teksavvy doesn't let that happen.

CRTC Chair May Have Violated Conflict of Interest Act, Says Integrity Commissioner


May 6, 2022 6:59 pm  #2

Re: Ethics Commissioner To Determine If CRTC Chair In Conflict Of Interest

Nothing will come of this...  the vast majority of Politicos, Mandarins and their associated fart catchers in the parliamentary prescient have their suits either custom tailored or they buy them off the rack, but they are all made of the finest Teflon... so nothing sticks...


May 6, 2022 8:30 pm  #3

Re: Ethics Commissioner To Determine If CRTC Chair In Conflict Of Interest

The optics for this have never looked good.  However if there was really something untoward or truly scandalous these two gentlemen would not be meeting after 5 in a busy well known bar downtown Ottawa which is a hangout for media and politicians. 

The independents are wrong saying it was a private meeting, it actually couldn't have been much more public.  Scott and Bibic have known each other for years, was it more than just a beer?  Probably, but maybe not. 

And there are others saying it just shows the arrogance of these two men, flaunting the rules etc. etc... A convenient argument but likely incorrect. Hopefully if it truly was a major conflict then this will be brought out by the Integrity Commissioner.  They have already ruled twice against PM Trudeau, so it is wrong to say that Scott will automatically be vindicated.  But it is far from a slam dunk for the independents.